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High Speed Trains

November 30, 2011 | By Dan Weikel, Los Angeles Times
The funding plan for the California bullet train does not comply with key provisions of a ballot measure that voters approved to authorize the project and $9 billion in state bonds to help finance it, according to a report released Tuesday. The study — by the Legislative Analyst's Office, which periodically reviews the $98-billion construction proposal — concluded that the most recent funding plan does not meet important requirements of Proposition 1A because high-speed trains cannot operate on the first stretch of track to be built next year in the Central Valley.
November 2, 2011 | By Ralph Vartabedian, Dan Weikel and Richard Simon, Los Angeles Times
The ambitious plan to connect Anaheim and San Francisco with high-speed trains has encountered plenty of obstacles, including intensifying resistance from wealthy and poor communities lying in the track's path. But the bullet train's biggest threat could be its ballooning price tag, which this week doubled to an estimated $98 billion. Backers on Tuesday announced a major strategy shift, unveiling a reworked blueprint for the first leg that would delay completion 13 years to 2033.
August 11, 2011 | By Benjamin Haas, Los Angeles Times
China will slow down its high-speed trains and conduct safety checks along its expansive network in response to a deadly collision last month that left 40 dead and nearly 200 injured, the country's State Council said Wednesday. Speeds will be reduced on all trains by about 30 mph starting Sept. 1, slowing China's fastest trains from 215 mph to 185 mph. The country's showcase Beijing-Shanghai line was already reduced to 185 mph when it was opened in June. Rail Minister Sheng Guangzu said China would suspend all new rail projects during the upcoming round of safety checks, the Nanfang Daily reported.
July 24, 2011 | By David Pierson, Los Angeles Times
At least 35 people were killed and scores were injured Saturday when a bullet train in eastern China lost power after being struck by lightning and was rear-ended by another train, state news media reported. The crash sent two passenger cars careening off an elevated track in Wenzhou, a city in Zhejiang province. State television showed video of rescue workers in a steady downpour pulling bloodied passengers out of a car standing on its end and leaning against a bridge. Six cars were derailed in the two trains, one of which originated in Beijing and the other in Hangzhou, state media reported.
May 16, 2011
California's much-vaunted high-speed rail project is, to put it bluntly, a train wreck. Intended to demonstrate the state's commitment to sustainable, cutting-edge transportation systems, and to show that the U.S. can build rail networks as sophisticated as those in Europe and Asia, it is instead a monument to the ways poor planning, mismanagement and political interference can screw up major public works. For anti-government conservatives, it is also a powerful argument for scrapping President Obama's national rail plans, rescinding federal funding and canceling the project before any more money is wasted on it. We couldn't disagree more.
May 6, 2011 | By Rich Connell and Dan Weikel, Los Angeles Times
In a surprising and controversial move, California bullet train planners on Thursday revived a long-discarded route option following Interstate 5 over the Grapevine that could save billions of dollars and eliminate a sweeping dogleg through Los Angeles County's high desert towns. The sudden reversal comes after years of planning focused on a circuitous path south of Bakersfield crossing the Tehachapi Mountains to serve Palmdale and Lancaster. Reopening what had been a settled issue highlights a critical tension in one of the nation's costliest transportation projects: As officials rush to start building, they still have not resolved an array of political, financing and engineering challenges.
March 13, 2011
The lights are still on at the Eiffel Tower. They keep ringing up sales at Prada in Rome, and London is getting ready to start partying for about a year and a half, beginning with the April 29 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton at Westminster Abbey. All in all, you wouldn't know that Europe has suffered through an economic crisis as brutal as ours, because strong social programs in the social democracies we love to visit — England, Italy and France — keep people at work, which is part of the problem.
December 24, 2010 | By Benoit Lebourgeois, Special to the Los Angeles Times
Train travelers can zip from Helsinki, Finland, to St. Petersburg , Russia, in less than four hours, thanks to a new high-speed rail service . Finnish President Tarja Halonen and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin last week inaugurated the new route, the first such link to cross the former Iron Curtain. With top speeds of 140 miles per hour, the new Allegro train shrinks the 250-mile journey from five-and-a-half hours to about three-and-a-half hours. Round-trip fares sold by Rail Europe , (800)
December 2, 2010 | By Rich Connell and Dan Weikel, Los Angeles Times
The state attorney general has concluded that the mayor of Anaheim and members of the Los Angeles County and Orange County transportation boards may not serve simultaneously on California's High-Speed Rail Authority board. The formal opinion, issued Wednesday, was prompted by a controversy over the multiple public hats worn by Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle and Los Angeles County transportation official Richard Katz. The opinion says that serving in leadership positions at local agencies that are coordinating routes and station development for the proposed $43-billion bullet train is legally "incompatible" with an appointment to the rail board under state law. In addition, an official is deemed to have forfeited his or her first public office upon assuming a second, impermissible office, the state lawyers said.
October 26, 2010 | By Dan Weikel, Los Angeles Times
The California high-speed train project will receive at least $731 million from a $902-million grant the federal government awarded on Monday for rail improvements across the state. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, $715 million will help pay for the design and construction of a section of the planned bullet train in the Central Valley. An additional $16 million was earmarked for the high-speed rail corridor between San Francisco and San Jose. "These additional funds are a tremendous vote of confidence for California's high-speed rail project," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
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